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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 November 2017

Health campaign discusses strategy to save NHS

Marching to save the NHS, 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch

Marching to save the NHS, 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Jon Dale

Over 400 health campaigners and trade unionists attended Health Campaigns Together's (HCT) conference on 4 November - more than double its last conference.

HCT called the 250,000-strong demonstration against NHS cuts on 4 March, which helped derail Theresa May at the June election.

The conference heard from campaigns that have won victories, like North Devon's campaign to save Barnstaple District General Hospital. Every victory helps inspire campaigners elsewhere, even if battles keep having to be fought again.

Socialist film director Ken Loach focused on dentistry. Stories of DIY tooth extraction, abscess lancing and even tooth filling show the horrors following privatisation and charges.

Ken welcomed Jeremy Corbyn's changes to Labour but was disappointed with the election manifesto. It said Labour would "reverse privatisation" and make the NHS the "preferred provider" instead of clearly calling for an end to all privatisation.

Workshops brought together campaigners fighting for mental health, for safe staffing levels, busting the pay cap and defending immigrants among other issues.

Rounding the conference off, Dr Gurjinder Sandhu, an A&E consultant, was cheered for attacking the Tories' 'McKinsey model,' reorganising the NHS with hospital closures, mergers and so-called community care. "This emperor is stark bollock naked," he said. "There is no evidence for it and a huge amount of evidence against."

The loudest cheers of the day went to Jacqui Berry, a nurse and Socialist Party member, who followed. "I'm a socialist because I'm a nurse and a nurse because I'm a socialist," she said. "We're not powerless." The junior doctors' strikes and 4 March demonstration showed the possibilities for national action to save the NHS. Pay strikes need to be built for.

"What we have to do is bring down the government - and not replace it with MPs who just wear different colour ties but those who will carry out a completely different programme."

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In The Socialist 8 November 2017:


What we think

'Paradise' for billionaires - austerity for us


Socialist Party news and analysis

Westminster sexual harassment scandal

Walk out against tuition fees!

Bosses say 217 years to close pay gap - workers' struggle can close it now!

We can win the vote at 16!

Child poverty set to hit 5.2m - unions and Corbyn must act now

PFI privateers dodge tax

What we saw


Workplace news and analysis

Pay cap decisively rejected by PCS union members

BA mixed-fleet workers show strikes get results

Unite union sector conferences: coordinate action over pay

Picturehouse strike: "evil corporations are evil"

Arriva bus strike still solid


International socialist news and analysis

US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters

Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'

Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Health campaign discusses strategy to save NHS

Chatsworth neuro-rehab ward still open - unions join the campaign

Housing campaigners ask Corbyn to instruct Labour council regeneration ballots

Thousands march in London for Palestine

Opposition to new academy school being built on Leeds playing fields

Orgreave campaigners' Halloween 'Death of Justice' march

Sheffield trees campaigner sentenced to prison

Brum meeting celebrates centenary of 1917


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Obituary: Derek Robinson, car workers' leader, 1927-2017

Welsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict

Obituary: Paul Randall, 1959-2017

The Socialist inbox


 

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